Sunday, July 1, 2012
I've been to many events at Blank Space. It has been something of a mecca for me downtown. Amanda Chadwick and Mathew Simantov met at Blank Space and they are engaged to be married in Seattle. The place has hosted an endless stream of parties and arts events over the past two years. I've been to bad ass dance parties here where the folks in tuxedos across the street who had paid $200 for a political fundraiser wished they were having as much fun. It came as a surprise to find out Blank Space was closing its doors due to unfortunate circumstances having to do with the building owner, and David Charles not being able to afford to relocate at this time. So on June first, there was one more evening of great music, and half price on all the beer that was left (about 1,000 beers).
I arrived straight from work. There were several clusters of people seated at the bar. I ordered Blue Moon and sat down for one more sketch, for old times sake. It was odd and a bit sad that the walls were completely empty. Later that night, artists were going to paint the walls. When I got up to leave, I passed a graffiti artist outside who was taping up the window supports. He planned to paint as many windows as possible. Homeless men played chess on a stoop between Blank Space and the barber shop. For once Orlando felt urban and gritty. The window had been scraped clean of the art in a matter of days.
I passed the deserted space yesterday. Artists had drawn all over the interior walls with sharpies and spots of inspired color. The once vibrant cultural hub was now silent but the writing was on the wall, as artists search for ways to express themselves in the homoginized downtown.